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Taking A Closer Look At Poverty

1855 words - 8 pages

What is poverty? www.merriam-webster.com defines poverty as “the state of one who lacks a usual or socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions. “Many Americans mainly think that poor people consist of being unemployed, lazy, lack of education, etc. I even asked a few random people at Capital University, why people are poor and many said lack of employment and others mentioned having a hole in their pocket and not being educated. Even though this may be true; many Americans lack the facts that many poor people are hardworking people who fail to make ends meet. Many Americans live under three different kinds of poverty, they consist of: Official Poverty, Absolute Poverty, and Relative Poverty. To best understand what all three forms of poverty, I found the best definition of all three in Kendall, Diana’s textbook “Sociology in Our Times” Page 205. Kendall defines Official Poverty as “the income standard that is based on what the federal government considers to be the minimum amount of money required for living at a subsistence level.” Absolute Poverty is “a level of economic deprivation that exists when people do not have the means to secure the most basic necessities of life.” Finally Relative Poverty is “a level of economic deprivation that exists when people may be able to afford basic necessities but are still unable to maintain an average Standard of living.
A great example of Relative Poverty is located in the article: Nickel and Dimed written by Barbara Ehrenreich. Barbara Ehrenreich performed a brilliant experiment in which she had to experience what life is like only profiting $2.43 an hour including tips. Barbara Ehrenreich decided to work for a family restaurant named Hearthside. Barbara began work at 2:00PM to 10:00 PM every day. Whenever I had visited a small town restaurant, I had a majority of waitresses that presented themselves as delightful and happy. As Barbara worked eight hours at the restaurant with all the employees she learned the true way the employees felt. The employees of the restaurant were poor and barely making it causing most of them to act rude. The job was hard on the majority of the employees and in result caused frustration. Eventually while working at the restaurant, Barbara found that minimum wage wasn’t enough to live off of. Barbara was forced into partaking in a second job as a maid. Soon Barbara was performing a tremendous amount of hard work for such little pay. Barbara only earned $1,040 in a single month. Barbara spent every last dime on food, gas, toiletries, laundry, phone utilities and for a trailer in which is inhabitable. After all the expenses had been paid, Barbara was left with $22.00 to her name. Her experience and troubles Barbara faced is happening all around us. From a past assignment I talked about my experience working at a scrap yard. When I reached the age of sixteen, my grandfather offered me a job at his scrap yard. I experienced how hard it is to make minimum wage,...

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